Watching the World Race By
I have a front row seat on the local race track. My computer station in the front window of our house is a facsimile of Red Barber's cat bird seat, from which I can watch exercisers, dog-walkers, bikers, elderly strollers, and cars taking the cut-through between main roads.
Suburbanites in these opening years of a new millennium demonstrate an intensity toward exercise. Even their dogs seem to be in a hurry. Fashion dictates running shorts and expensive sneakers... even for the strollers... unless they have varicose veins. Baseball caps are also the rage. The activity heats up on the weekend and in the twilight, but throughout the day joggers trickle by. Maybe they work at home with modems.
Ah, here comes a dog exerciser now. She wears a fuzzy wool bonnet with a pink towel wrapped around her neck, a sweat shirt of pale blue and sweat pants of navy. The dog's a white-haired toy poodle. I study them carefully. The lady does not brandish a pooper scooper and plastic gloves are nowhere to be seen. I am at the ready to bound (actually, limp) through my front door lest the pet despoil my precious lawn. They pass, however, without incident.
So now you know the depths into which mandatory retirement has plunged me.
Wait a minute: here comes a jogger. He wears the colors of his school... blue, Yale probably: the woods in these parts are filled with Elis. He wears another necessity for those of ostentatious health patterns. Inside his right ear shines a button for his portable CD player. I guess if running bores you, you can make it less tiresome by listening to Sheryl Crow... or Vivaldi.
Oops, there goes another one, up the hill, a loop going from and returning to our Lane. She is decked out in white, head to toe, baseball cap to Adidas. I have a hard enough time walking up that hill, but does she have to shame this seventy year old by ascending the mountain without puffing? I do have my memories, distant ones, of basketball and softball; but what good do they do me now? They serve mostly to make me envious of what I was and who she is.
I tried a couple of times ten years ago to run around the park near our former residence. But my knees loudly protested, swelling in indignation at my disregard for their feelings. Nowadays the walk from the car to the Little League playing field is an adventure inspiring another appointment for a reassessment by the orthopedist. The best I can hope for is a two mile ride on a stationary bike, provided I lace my synovial nerve with naproxen.
A Miata, top down, just flashes by. A SNET truck stops across the street. The repairman needs no ladder: the wires, telephone and power are underground in this neighborhood. A landscaper roughbrushes the lawn of the corner house, raising a small dust storm. The tulips blossom in our front garden as the birch tree leafs out. See for yourself. A retiree power walks by, garbed in black and maroon sweatsuit and, sadly, a less-than-color coordinated pale lime cap.
Life goes on... and on... and on.
In Brooklyn years ago we lived in a row house. One of the features of those "railroad flats" was the hall room, a small space barely accommodating a cot, on the second story over the stairs. Often it served as grandma's room. She could sit there looking out the window and watch neighborhood life parade by. It enabled her in her age to experience the ebb and flow of the world around her. Well, I have my hall room, only it's the updated version, a first floor, wide-windowed perspective granting me a bird's eye view of suburban life.
I've often wondered where the years would take me. But I never imagined it would be here. On the other hand, I never thought I would spend seventeen plus years in Brooklyn and twenty-eight years in Nassau County. Like the baseball mom said to me last night at the Giametti Little League Training Center in Bristol CT, when I reported that I hadn't preached since I had retired: "God still has plenty for you to do."
So I'll sit here with my window on the world and try to figure out just what it is.
Could it be this?